Sun bear goes under the knife

Sasa the sun bear (Simon Wong / 3 News)
Sasa the sun bear (Simon Wong / 3 News)

A Malayan sun bear at Wellington Zoo has undergone her yearly procedure to inject a contraceptive implant.

Eight-year-old Sasa is part of an Australasian breeding programme, but at the moment she's not needed to reproduce.    

A large needle was needed to get through her thick skin to put the implant into the back of her neck.

Life sciences manager Paul Horton says the whole procedure is meticulously planned from getting Sasa from her enclosure into the vet clinic.

"Obviously she's a bear and she's potentially quite dangerous so everything has to be done very carefully," he says.

At Sasa's age, she's "hot to trot" and a good specimen for breeding but the animals are only bred when required, he says.

Vets also used the opportunity to give the bear a check-up including cleaning her teeth.

Sasa lives with her dad Sean at the zoo.

Sun bears are the smallest species of bear in the world, weighing up to one tenth of a polar bear.

3 News